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Using oil as coolant


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Rik Shaw10/06/2013 10:45:12
1365 forum posts
373 photos

With the old lathe sold I'd like to continue using a thin cutting oil on my new lathe. I have been using "Rotabroach" thin cutting oil (up to now applied by brush) which I buy of ebay. What I would like to do is use this cutting medium as a coolant from a suds pump, the sort that WARCO sell - will it work? BTW I might even lash some thing up by using some other type of - preferably low voltage - pump. Any ideas?

If you wonder why I prefer oil its because I used to get superior finishes on a SIP jig borer that I used to use (in another life) and secondly, I find it does not "pong" like mistic.


Steamer191510/06/2013 12:24:57
166 forum posts
41 photos

Hi Rik,

For the past couple of years I have been using Castrol "Ilocut 486" on both the Hardinge lathe and bridgeport mill. I went down this road because I was wary of condensation and I have had instances in the past where soluble oil has got under a vice and stained the table. Unusually for me, this has been a smart move. It isn't the cheapest stuff in the world, but works fine on steel and aluminium alike. I also smear it on parts that are likely to rust and it seems to form a good lasting film. My photos show some of the work I do.


Edited By Steamer1915 on 10/06/2013 12:27:55

Dave C10/06/2013 12:40:06
94 forum posts
8 photos


I am looking into the cutting oil route also at the minute. Going off your recomendation I would like to try the Castrol Ilocut 486 which use.

Could you recomend a supplier please,



Steamer191510/06/2013 12:46:02
166 forum posts
41 photos

Hi Dave,

You could try here:- **LINK**

(usual disclaimer)


Bazyle10/06/2013 13:37:27
5473 forum posts
206 photos

Does extensive use of soluble oil increase the humidity in a closed workshop? Or is it 'bound'. I am an oil brusher only because something better is always a tomorrow job but I would be worried about the fumes from pumped oil in large quantities.

Rik Shaw10/06/2013 14:51:47
1365 forum posts
373 photos

The water in a soluble oil mix WILL evaporate the water out. So yes it WILL increase the humidity. Do not worry about fumes with the oil. If you are using properly approved cutting oil you should come to no harm. Just to keep the old skin safe though I always use those thin vinyl gloves in the workshop - I find the blue ones best - around £3.50 a box at the car boot sale on a Sunday. The only other thing I would say though is when applying a heavy cut it might be prudent to avoid breathing in the smoke to much. Using this stuff over a good number of years whilst "on the tools" never did me any harm - not yet anyway.>>


PS If it does get me I I'll message you with a warning before I croak teeth 2>>

Versaboss10/06/2013 15:17:13
458 forum posts
51 photos

Hi Steamer,

how do you get the oil out of the swarf? I suppose such a 20 L canister as shown in the link above does not last very long if it is not possible to regain most of what clings to the swarf.

Greetings, Hansrudolf

110/06/2013 16:21:44
65 forum posts
1 photos

I used pumped mystic on my lathe and milling machine without problem for a couple of years. I recently moved my workshop and took the oppportunity to change to Warco Neatcut, which as the name implies is a thin, neat cutting oil. I found it pumped no problem, although I needed to reduce the flow rate, and worked well BUT getting rid of it was not as easy as soluble oil. As Hansrudolf has suggested it clings to swarf, does not drain away as quickly and having no water content does not evaporate as mystic will. The result was a swarf tray full of oily rubbish which was messy to dispose of.

I have now gone back to mystic.


Rik Shaw10/06/2013 16:57:03
1365 forum posts
373 photos

Jim - That was exactly the sort of info I was looking for thank you. Will now go into ponder mode while I reconsider coolant methods.

By the way, why did you have to reduce the flow rate with the oil?


Steamer191510/06/2013 16:57:50
166 forum posts
41 photos

Hello Hansrudolf,

Yes, you are correct to say that some of the oil clings to the swarf. I don't do great amounts of machining compared to a commercial operation, but when I have made a decent amount (of swarf) I usually throw it into the bottom of the milling machine tray, let it drain for a day or two and then throw the swarf in a old oil drum, ready for the scrap man. I have to admit that I have yet to empty this bin yet, but I would say the oil recovery rates are acceptable to me.


Edited By Steamer1915 on 10/06/2013 16:58:33

John McNamara11/06/2013 17:15:24
1313 forum posts
113 photos

Hi All

Re swarf. I use a special tool to help reduce the size of the stuff. Actually just a 75mm square tube about 1.4 metres long, it had the misfortune to be sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time one day when I had a couple of 20 litre pails of the stuff ready to be discarded, it was spilling over the edge of the pails and not wanting to cut myself on the spirals ,,, been there done that, i used the tube to push it down. as push leads to shove I ended up whacking it down on the swarf by moving the point of impact, the swarf will end up as a sort of mat. It reduced to a quarter of it original volume. So now I have a swarf thumper......


Douglas Johnston11/06/2013 17:39:08
705 forum posts
34 photos

Just been looking for Castrol Ilocut 486 but it only seems to be available in 20 litre cans costing the best part of £100. Is there a supplier able to provide smaller ammounts?


Rik Shaw11/06/2013 18:38:40
1365 forum posts
373 photos

Doug - WARCO do there own oil in smaller quantities. Its here : **LINK** I have not tried it yet but they tell me that their suds pump will pump it albeit a little slow. ---- Rik

Rik Shaw11/06/2013 20:19:17
1365 forum posts
373 photos

Thinking DIY oil coolant pump for the machinery, I happened on these on ebay.



Using a large tupperware box as a reservoir and either of these as the pump would be my prototype. I think the return flow would also need to negotiate a baked bean can the bottom being replaced by fine steel mesh as the swarf catcher. What do you think?


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